27.05.2019: Ganja – Baku

The first points on our “To-Do” list today were not directly motorcycle related. They were:

  • Get a local sim card
  • Purchase insurance for Fabi

The first point was essential as we needed a Azerbaijani number in order to call the ferry office during the next days to get information about departures. Secondly, the insurance was necessary as Azerbaijan requires vehicle insurance and Fabi was not covered by her “Green Card” while the insurance of Chris included Azerbaijan.

We had discussed this with Kevin at the previous evening and he gave us the information that “Sigorta” is the search term to use in order to find insurance offices. While Kevin was staying in the same hostel he had different plans for the day: He took off early in the morning in order to visit the national park we did not visit yesterday. After that his plan was also to ride to Baku in order to catch the next ferry.

When we arrived at the Azercell phone store at 9:10am we were informed that the “technicans” would come in in around half an hour. Ok, then we would have to purchase the insurance without the help of Google Translate. This turned out not to be a problem as one of the clerks in the insurance office spoke some English. With the language barrier out of the way we could get started right away. Our request was not a problem for the guys but Fabis’ numberplate was.

Apparently, the insurance system is not designed for plates with German umlauts in them. After they tried around for half an hour, they somehow managed to get it to work and we could pay the 10 AZN (5€) the insurance policy for 14 days did cost. With the legal matters out of the way, we headed back to the phone store. The were some more employees now and two girls were given the task of dealing with Chris who requested: “Sim card internet”.

Apparently the process of activating a sim card is pretty hard as it took the ladies over 45 minutes to do so. Then we paid the bill for the sim card as well as an internet package and went on our way, armed with 5GB of internet and calls. So we thought…

After purchasing some breakfast we returned to the hostel at around 11am and packed our belongings. As we pushed our bikes out of the yard, guess who was waiting for us: It was Kevin! He had just returned from the national park and was about to head for Baku. Before, he informed us that he had gotten the information that a ferry might leave this evening or tomorrow in the morning! Wow, that’s a pretty short notice when you are still 360km away from where the ferry will leave.

Still, we decided not to take the direct road to Baku but instead diverted into the mountains further to the north. This gave us some nice views, curves and also the temperatures were more comfortable in the mid-20s. Lunch was pretty late at 3pm as we did not find a nice spot for a rest earlier. Also, neither of us was particularly hungry so that was fine.

During lunch we got news from one of the Omanis we had met yesterday. They contacted us on Instagram and wrote Fabi: “Actually we booked a villa”, “No need for hotel, you can sleep here, we asked the owner to prepare a room for you”. After a short discussion we decided to accept the kind offer and got the address from the guys.

With our stomachs full we got on the road to Baku again. As we neared Baku the landscape changed from green, tree covered mountains to a sparse desert with occasional rocks. Fabi was amazed by the looks and so it was photoshoot time.

After we were finished we entered Baku. Getting 95 octane petrol here was not a problem, some petrol stations even offered 98 octane. Unbelievable! As we neared the address given to us, we were not sure if the address was right. But once we stopped at, we already were greeted by one of the Omani who came out of a driveway. We parked our bikes and the guys showed us our bedroom.

They had in fact rented an entire villa or house which contained more than five bedrooms, several bathrooms a kitchen and a living room. Just as we had gotten all our luggage inside, disaster struck: Kevin called and informed us that a boat would leave this very evening. In fact, when he got the information five minutes ago, they had just started the boarding process. So, there was no time to lose if we wanted to get the boat!

On the other side, we had expected to have some days off in Baku to relax. Also, the Omanis were so kind to organize a room for us – it would be somewhat impolite to say: “Yeah we just arrived but we have to go again after five minutes”. So, we discussed our options. The arguments pro-leave were:

  • Time saving
  • Easier as we had Russian-speaking Kevin with us

On the other hand, we had the pro-stay arguments:

  • Time in Baku
  • Opportunity to spend some time with the Omanis (did you ever share a house with members of a biker club?)

In the end we decided to stay and informed Kevin accordingly. Later that evening he let us know that he got the boat and was on his way to Kazakhstan. After we changed and had a shower we went shopping with the others at around 10pm. They had hired a driver who was available on call to drive them around wherever they wanted. He drove us to a big supermarket where they purchased an entire shelf of cold beer as well as things to cook dinner. When we got back, they started cooking and served some starters in the living room. While we were eating, we talked about their trip through Europe. It was nice to hear about the experiecnes they had made along their way.

As they had only started to cook dinner at around 11:30pm we finished eating early in the morning at 2:30am. Without any detours, we fell into our bed.